WASHINGTON, DC — On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, Father Mark Rutherford, J.C.L. (left in photo) made a profession of faith and took the oath of fidelity in compliance with canon 833, 5° of the Code of Canon Law before assuming the office of Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). Father Rutherford began his new ministry the following day, overseeing the work of the archdiocesan tribunal, which processes cases concerning nullity and dissolution of marriage.
Father Rutherford, a priest of the Diocese of Lansing, MI, made the profession and took the oath during noon Mass in the main chapel of the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center, the AMS’s Washington, DC headquarters. He concelebrated the Mass with the AMS Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, the Reverend Monsignor John J.M. Foster, J.C.D., before a small congregation of AMS staffers.
Father Rutherford’s appointment was announced in May by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services. He succeeds Father Christopher Armstrong, J.C.D., who served as AMS Judicial Vicar for nearly the past six years. Father Armstrong has returned to his home Archdiocese of Cincinnati, where he will assume the role of Spiritual Director at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and School of Theology.
Father Rutherford, 37, completed his Licentiate in Canon Law (J.C.L.) at the Catholic University of America in Washington in 2018. Back in Michigan, where he has been a pastor for the past six years, he served the Tribunal of the Diocese of Lansing as Defender of the Bond. He is active in the Canon Law Society of America, where he serves on the Committee on Eastern Churches. He also served as chaplain to the Diocese of Lansing Catholic Lawyers Guild. Father Rutherford comes from a military family. His mother grew up in the Air Force, and all three of his brothers served in the U.S. Navy.